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87 endangered vultures poisoned by poachers in Mozambique

February 26, 2018

In this photo provided by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and taken on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018, the corpses of poisoned vultures are piled up in the Mbashene communal area in Mozambique. Conservationists say at least 87 critically endangered vultures have died after consuming poison planted in the carcass of a poached elephant. (Andre Botha/Endangered Wildlife Trust Photo via AP)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Conservationists say at least 87 critically endangered vultures have died after consuming poison planted in the carcass of a poached elephant in Mozambique.

The South Africa-based Endangered Wildlife Trust says at least 80 white-backed vultures and seven hooded vultures were killed and more dead birds might be found in the Mbashene communal area where the poisoning occurred. It says another 17 poisoned vultures improved after treatment.

The conservation group says some of the dead vultures were mutilated, suggesting that they may have been killed for parts used in traditional medicine. The tusks of the poached elephant were seized and one suspect was detained.

Poachers also poison vultures because they circle above the carcasses of animals such as rhinos and elephants, potentially revealing their location to park rangers.

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